Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice in South Carolina
As one of the largest tourist states on the East Coast, South Carolina needs a constantly strong criminal justice system that prevents as much crime as possible without taking a heavy-handed approach. This balance not only keeps residents safe, it makes tourists feel confident about choosing South Carolina as a vacation destination.
If you’ve been looking for a way to get your foot in the door in criminal justice, you may find an opportunity in a criminal justice associate degree. These South Carolina programs give you a thorough background in criminal justice and provide opportunities to gain field experience.
Speed is a major factor in this industry, and South Carolina legislators are working toward a smoother and faster trial process by spending millions of dollars on hiring new prosecutors to work throughout the state (The State, 2016).
Don’t put off your goals any longer—contact schools listed below to get information on earning an associate in criminal justice.
Criminal Justice Associate Programs in South Carolina
South Carolina associate degrees are short-term programs that provide a substantial amount of education in about half the time of a Bachelor’s degree program. If you plan on earning a Bachelor’s degree in the future, consider an associate program with credits that transfer to four-year South Carolina schools.
You can also look into the benefits of an online criminal justice degree, since earning your degree online may offer more space in your schedule for work, family, and other obligations. Costs and credit hour expectations differ from school to school.
State averages are listed below:
- Timeframe: 2 to 2.5 years
- Credits: 60 to 66 credits
- Average tuition cost per year: $4,798 (College Board, 2016)
When you have agreed to attend a school, you can get right into the scholarship and grant application process. Federal and state grants are excellent resources. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers’ Association awards scholarships of $2,000 to $3,000. Use our comprehensive list of criminal justice scholarships to find more opportunities.
If you are particularly interested in one facet of criminal justice, you may be able to earn a degree in a specific area of study. South Carolina schools have programs in fields like paralegal studies, legal assisting, criminal justice technology, and crime scene investigation.
If you decide to earn your degree in criminal justice, you may enroll in these and similar courses:
- Criminal Law
- Police Administration
- Correctional Systems
- Judicial Process
- Criminal Evidence
Some programs require field experience in the form of crime lab hours, internships, or practicum courses. Take full advantage of these opportunities, since they may make the job search much easier in the future.
What Can I Do With a Criminal Justice Degree in South Carolina?
With the variety of courses you complete in a criminal justice program, you should have the core skills needed for a variety of criminal justice career paths. Animal control officers are employed by many South Carolina counties, cities and municipalities. They earn, on average, $28,950 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
Correctional officers are an integral part of prisons and jails all over South Carolina. Their average salary is $32,990 annually (BLS, 2016). Job openings may swell 2% between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2016). Security guards, who also serve in a protective capacity, may see a 12% jump in job openings through 2022 (O*Net, 2016).
Police patrol officers may work throughout the state after completing the police academy. The average income for a South Carolina patrol officer is $40,340 per year (BLS, 2016). From 2012 through 2022, demand for patrol officers may increase 6% (O*Net, 2016).
To help in your job search, consider getting references from your college instructors, internship supervisors, and any relevant employers. If your chosen career path is competitive, this extra step may help you set yourself apart from other applicants.
From corrections and policing to juvenile justice and legal assisting, the field of criminal justice is extremely diverse and multifaceted.
To find out what a South Carolina criminal justice associate degree may do for your education and career, get in touch with the South Carolina schools listed below.
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